Safe Computing for the Holidays

Taking time off to spend with family and friends is such a treat, but alas for many it is hard to stay away from the computer.  If you are going to do some online shopping, play a new game or check your work email, be sure to practice safe computing.  Your home computer may not have the same protection as work, so before you download that file or visit a new site make sure you are protected. Protecting your computer 1)  Make sure your operating system is updated and all security patches are installed.  If you are using Windows, go to Control Panel Home, then Windows Update. This page will show you if you are up to date or if you need an update.  If you are out of date, follow the instructions and consider turning on automatic updates.  If you have a Mac, the update is similar to Windows so just follow the instructions.  If you have Unix or Linux, you are probably an expert and know … [Read more...]

A Strong Password is Your First Defense

The evolution of computers is astounding.  The increase in computing power, bandwidth and accessibility has made almost everything people do with computers easier.  Information technology not only satisfies our need for instant gratification, but changes the rules for trivial pursuit. No doubt, computers have changed our lives, but we still login very much like in the old days. Today’s computer looks much different from the main frame days. Back then most users had a “green” screen to input data, starting with username and password. There was little graphics and most user input was entered at a prompt.  Now, the graphics are remarkable from backgrounds to programs to games.  The modern computer and display makes the virtual world come alive in ways that were hard to imagine twenty years ago.  But with all the advancements one key feature hasn’t changed, we still use a username and … [Read more...]

Living on the Edge with Your Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy?

One of the biggest risks you can take is not having a backup and disaster recovery strategy. Your data is important and irreplaceable.  Sure, you may never experience a disk failure, but if you do it will be a disaster.  Ask anyone who has suffered a data loss and they will tell you about the distress and panic when they realized that the data was gone forever.  Data loss can devastate your operations and cripple your organization.  But for a problem with such disastrous results, it has an easy fix. Read about our easy 3-2-1 Backup Strategy. Backing up data is relatively easy and economical on the front side and provides an easy recovery method in case of a disk loss or failure.  Backup costs are a fraction of recovery costs and sometimes no amount of money or effort can recover data from a severely damaged disk. Today’s technology provides many cost-effective ways to protect … [Read more...]

Honeypots and SCADA Systems

Guest Blog by Rusty O’Neal System Specialist/SCADA Admin, Canoochee EMC and Secretary, GEMC Distribution Transmission Automation Group (DTAG) "A honeypot consists in an environment where vulnerabilities have been deliberately introduced in order to observe intrusions and attacks"(Pouget & Dacier, 2004, p. 2). The great thing about honeypots is that you can put them into any environment to observe malicious traffic. This could be used to monitor traffic locally or a wide area. Honeypots have been used for over twenty years now to watch for such traffic. The great thing about using a honeypot is that it is used to set a trap to detect, deflect, and in some manner counteract unauthorized access. A honeypot looks just like any other network including computers, data, and a network site that appears to be part of the corporate network, but is actually put in place to be closely … [Read more...]

Are you infected? DNSChanger Overview

Malware is a constant source of anxiety to any computer user. Not only can it slow down your computer, but it can fool you into giving away personal data or purchasing phony products with your credit card. Most computer users are non-technical consumers.  There is nothing wrong with that as computers are a great tool in the modern world. This is similar to how we are all electricity consumers.  We use power but don’t worry about the details of how power is generated and distributed.  We just know that it works and leave the details to the experts.  Since electricity is so dangerous, there are mandatory safeguards that have to be followed. Much like power utilities, regulated industries like financial and medical are required to safeguard your data or be fined severely.  Personally, you don’t have to protect your computer, but if you don’t hackers and identity thieves can ruin your … [Read more...]